nick   September 3, 2017   Comments Off on Vision

Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?

The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”

Its traditional on the first Sunday in September  to talk about vision and our plans for the next term/year
I’m not one for following tradition – but vision is something that I’ve been thinking about and am feeling stirred about at the moment.
A few weeks ago I was spending some time with Ben – pastor at Influence church Richmond and he asked me the question – what’s your vision – I was stumped for a while. I realised I’d lost that sense of vision in all my busyness. Sometimes we can lose sight of why we are doing things.
Bill Hybels of Willow creek church in America talking about church vision says Vision leaks.
In other words vision leaks out of us. The busy lives that we lead, the disappointments, the things that go unexpectedly wrong, even our successes can result in us losing our sense of vision. He says you have to keep coming back to it.
If like Alice you don’t know where you want to get to how do you know which way to go
Vision is not some new fangled modern church thing. It’s as old as the bible.
God gave Abraham a vision – he would be father of many nations.
He gave Joseph a vision – that he would be a man of influence
He gave Moses a vision – a land of milk and honey
He says to Joel – in the last days I will pour out my spirit
And in case you think they are all old testament examples
Rev 21.3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
People who say I don’t need vision I just do what the holy spirit leads me to do are more spiritual than the bible!
Last week  Jon Cooke spoke  and he focused on this verse – Is 43.19 “Behold I am doing a new thing”
What does that word behold mean – it means look see, it means I’m showing you something (not just telling you). You need to see it.
We often talk about hearing from  God but in the bible as well as speaking to people he shows them things.
Now those things are in the context of the individual meeting with God. But they are written down for us to “see” too. The book of Revelation is a vision – it was designed to be seen. It’s giving a picture. Christians can approach it as a code to unlock rather than a vision to see.
I’m a visual learner – I need to be able to see something, to imagine what it looks like. Give me a whole lot of words and I may work out what you mean  – but concepts only mean something when I can see what it looks like.
The bible is full of this – Jesus told stories that people could see. Prophetic words are often visual.
God made us as people with imagination, with creativity, as people who can dream. For some of us that’s more to the forefront of our personality for others less so
If you are a visual person I want to stir that up in you. As I’m speaking I’m t using visual aids today. But as I speak – what do you see for yourself? Allow God to speak to you about yourselfSo – having time to think about it has been helpful.  I think I know what my vision is – to build the church to reach the world. That’s my vision. That’s my calling. That’s what motivates me.
I’m not into the power of positive thinking – but visualising something helps you get tyhere. Athletes do this. At the World Athletics championships one of the coaches talked about how the high jumper was visualising every step of the jump.
Johnny Wilkinson – visualises the whole process

This is what John preached last week.  What is the new thing that you see?
In 1961 JFK shared the vison of putting a man on the moon. That vision was inspirational. On 21st July 1969 Neil Armstrong fulfilled that vison by stepping onto the surface of the moon. It took a massive amount of work, planning, organisation, as well as failures to achieve it
Paul had a vision – it was to make Christ known in places where he was not known (Romans 15)
He also had a strategy – he journeyed around, he decided where he was going to go next. Sometimes God intervened and gave him special direction
You need a strategy. Strategy is the steps you take to reach your vision. Sometimes the strategy changes because it’s not working. Sometimes you have to try things and fail.
If your vision is to have the best looking front garden on your street and you spend all day every day watching tv, your vison is not going to be fulfilled.
If your vison is to have the best front garden on your street and you spend all your time working on the back garden, it doesn’t matter how good your work is, how fruitful, how much your back garden is admired, you haven’t fulfilled your vision.
Churches can be like that – brilliant vision but what they do doesn’t contribute to achieving the vision.
Our strategy for the next few months>
You may remember I talked about doing Alpha – I’ve re thought that. Doing it in September is not viable. But being a bit more strategic.
BBQ – low level evangelism. You haven’t got to preach the gospel. Just befriend people.
Pre xmas event. Gospel choir. Target toddler group families.
Then hopefully Alpha.
Our other activities are all for building up the church or reaching out.
What is the new thing for us as church?
Nothing to report. We are looking at the Newfrontiers AoG options – do they have the same vision as us? Yes.
What is your vision – can you write it down?
What is the new thing he wants you to see?